Pennsylvania: Teacher Credentialing in Pennsylvania

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The State of Pennsylvania takes the education of its children seriously and as such makes it one of the highest priorities within the state government and has utilized a great many resources to achieve this goal. In order to reach these goals and assure the children of Pennsylvania have the best education, potential educators must prepare for their Initial Certification under the following criteria:

  • Must complete a state approved teacher education program that includes either student teaching or an internship program
  • Must complete Praxis I and Praxis II assessments and/or the American Council Testing Foreign Language (ACTFL)
  • Must submit application materials that certify all prerequisites have been met

All levels from elementary education through the high school levels must pass the PPST in reading, writing, and mathematics. Other testing is required as follows based upon the certification level:

  • Elementary education: Content knowledge in fundamental subjects and Praxis II testing
  • Middle level (grades 7 through 9): Content area test as appropriate for grade level subjects
  • Secondary level (grades 7 through 12): Content area test as appropriate for grade level subjects
  • Educational specialists: content test appropriate for area
  • School nurse, home and school Visitor, instructional technology specialist: Only PPST reading, writing, and mathematics

The principal, supervisor, vocational supervisor and vocational administrative director, and educational leadership administration and supervision must take test code (0410). Any educators who hold certifications in these areas will not be required to take any Praxis tests to add to that certification area. However, they must complete the appropriate education program and obtain the experience as required.

Applicants for initial certification in Pennsylvania must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a baccalaureate degree
  • Must have completed an approved educational program
  • Must have passed the appropriate tests within their certification areas

Those educators who hold a Pennsylvania Instructional Level I or II certificate can usually add other areas by passing the Praxis II content area test and submitting an application to the Bureau. The following instructional areas require the completion of an approved program in addition to the appropriate test:

  • Cooperative education
  • Early childhood education
  • Elementary education
  • Health and physical education
  • Reading specialist
  • All special education areas

Individuals who already have a valid certificate as a Level I or Level II instructor only need to take the test required for the additional certification. If an individual is seeking dual certification he or she must test in both areas in which he or she wishes to specialize. All candidates who apply for certification in Pennsylvania must obtain the required passing score on all required tests at the time they submit their applications. The qualifying scores may be revised annually during the month of September.

Applicants can take the PPST test by computer or paper and pencil. It can be retaken once every 30 days up to six times per calendar year. You can take it on paper during the periods you are unable to use the computerized version.

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